POLITICS

South Carolina Republicans Want Lindsey Graham To Drop Out Of The Presidential Race

Nearly 8 in 10 of the state's GOP voters say he should hang it up.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has lost just about all viability as a presidential candidate in his home state, with nearly 8 in 10 Republican primary voters in South Carolina now saying that he should drop out of the race for the White House.

According to a poll released Wednesday by Public Policy Polling, a private firm that typically works with Democratic clients, only 15 percent of Republican primary voters in South Carolina think Graham should continue on with his campaign.

In a hypothetical Republican primary horse race, Graham manages to only capture 3 percent of the vote, placing him in a four-way tie with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.). 

Given a choice between Graham and real estate mogul Donald Trump, 72 percent of the state's GOP primary voters said they would go for Trump, compared to just 20 percent for Graham. Trump is currently polling highest of all presidential candidates among South Carolina Republicans, with 37 percent of the vote according to PPP.

The survey finds that Graham's presidential run may have also damaged his image in the state. In February, months before Graham announced his candidacy, PPP measured his approval rating at 54 percent among South Carolina Republicans. Since then, it's fallen to 36 percent. More people have grown to dislike Graham since then as well. Fifty-one percent of state Republicans disapprove of him now, compared to only 29 percent in February.

Monmouth University poll conducted in South Carolina in August also found Graham struggling to stay afloat. He captured just 4 percent among the state's Republican primary voters in that poll, and only 35 percent reported having a favorable view of him, compared to 50 percent who said they had an unfavorable view. 

Nationally, Graham is doing even worse. With just 0.2 percent of the vote, he barely registers on the HuffPost Pollster National GOP Primary chart, which aggregates all available polls.

Historically, no candidate from an early primary state has ever won the presidency.

Graham, a moderate on non-defense issues and a longtime member of Congress, faces a tough primary race in an election cycle where Republican voters have expressed an aversion to established Washington candidates and a preference for more conservative platforms

PPP surveyed 764 likely Republican voters in South Carolina using automated telephone interviews and online interviews, Sept. 3 through Sept. 6.  

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